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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Underappreciated Then And Now: Dave Mason Still Kicks Butt

One of my favourite bands of the late 60s was Traffic. Their sound was a wonderful blend of psychelic pop/rock with a nod to the blues and jazz. They were blessed/cursed with two musical geniuses, Steve Winwood and Dave Mason.

Two geniuses in one band generally leads to the math of division. And so it went with Traffic. But not before they graced us with a handful of interesting, intelligent albums. Winwood went on to great fame, forming one of the first "Super Groups," Blind Faith, with Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Ric Grech.

Mason's career was lower-key. His (arguably) signature tune, Feelin' Alright, was covered by a lot of musicians, most notably Joe Cocker. A few years later, he had a hit with what I think is his masterpiece, We Just Disagree.

The latter is the song I'm going to feature first. It's a brilliant tune, telling the tale of a break-up without a villain -- the way perhaps, of most break-ups.

Thanks to HudyRockinRoll, wttv and Riahsha for posting the videos.

First - Dave then:

And Dave now - (give or take a year):

He hasn't lost a thing. And he's maybe gained something.

Hang on, we're not done.

Mason is one of the best guitarists ever - then and now. I mean an all-time top 10-er. Don't believe me? Check it out. The video isn't the best but all you really need is your ears. Use them for all four minutes. The old man's still got it. (Charlie - this one's for you.)

Tell me I was wrong.

Frickin' right you can't. ;)

Never stop Dave.

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Favourite Song + The Cutest Baby Of 2010

Remember way back to my 2nd post here, the "Placenta" one? Yeah, last week. Anyway, I said you wouldn't see many officially-released videos here. Well, one isn't many....

The video is fun and fits the mood, so what the heck.I hope you'll give a look/listen to my latest favourite tune.

Turn up those speakers boys and girls and please, do up your seatbelts.

I hope you enjoyed that. I wasn't very familiar with the tune until I came across this next video last week. When you see it, you'll understand that my tastes are shared by a discriminating young man. This lad is not only a musical connoisseur he can...well...see for yourselves. (And thank goodness he was wearing his seatbelt!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It Ain't Music If It's Got No Soul

I don't care what kind of music it is - classical, rock, bluegrass, rhythm & blues - it's got to have soul. A tune may be melodic and mellifluous but without real emotion, it's just aural wallpaper.

I love Motown, one of Detroit's many musical gifts of the 60s and early 70s. The mix of pop, rock, gospel and r & b was irresistible. The singers were passionate and the beat contagious. My favourite practitioners of the Motown sound were the Four Tops, led by the room-filling, soulful pipes of Levi Stubbs.

The word "unique" may be the most abused in the English language. It can't be modified, yet on nearly a daily basis in newspapers, magazines or online, I see "really unique" or "most unique" or some other disturbing variant.

Few voices can be described as unique -- as sounding unlike any other. I can suggest Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Roy Orbison and Van Morrison. No doubt there are a handful of others.

And Levi Stubbs.

Mr. Stubbs had a particular resonant timbre that set his pipes apart. If you're over 40 years old, you're probably nodding right now. If you're younger, you won't have to take my word for it for long. A couple of examples are coming up.

Sadly, Mr. Stubbs passed away in 2008.

Happily, his voice will never be stilled.

Here's the group early in their career. (Thanks to Mkheire75 for the video.)

Yeah, but did they still have it some 35 years later?

Uh-huh. And the moves. (Thanks to adamweishaupt81 for the video.)

I'm going to wrap this one up with a wonderful ballad that was new to me. There are only a few still pictures in the video making it, at least for these ears, easier to focus on the soulful, unique voice of Levi Stubbs. Unfortunately, I can't embed the video here but I can link to it. I hope you'll click here and listen. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


A few times over the past couple of years, at BaronItAll, I've done a music-related post. Judging by the few comments and paucity of emails, they didn't go over especially well. But music is important to me. And I know it is to a lot of folks. Hearing it, making it, sharing it -- all are wonderful ways to spend time. And one of the greatest gifts this computer age has given us is the ability to watch and listen to musicians from around the world. At the merest click of a mouse you can find some old footage of Duane Allman, or Solomon Burke or Ella Fitzgerald. And a gazillion other folks, famous and not, from yesteryear or today.

So I decided to start another blog. Yeah, one of those annoying people with multiple blogs. (Of course I didn't mean yours!) On the plus side, you dasn't hasta visit...well, either one really. But if you're interested in music and would like to see if (this time) our tastes mesh (or don't) I hope you'll check it out. And feel free to comment if you think my featured choices suck.

Most of what you'll see here are YouTube videos, probably with an intro. I hope you enjoy a goodly portion of them. (Being as how there's no accounting for taste, you're unlikely to love 'em all.)

And that heron pic in the header? Well, that's probably a tale for my other blog.

Hmm...or maybe another blog....

Best Song Ever With The Word "Placenta" In It

It's no contest really. Live's Lightning Crashes is a marvel. The lazy, hypnotic intro is soothing, despite the disturbing lyrics. The slow build into a powerful, seismic wave of music inspires with every listen.

There are three pretty good videos of the tune on YouTube. The most-watched one, with over 3 million views, is the official video of the song. The sound quality is good but, as is usually the case, I felt the video interfered with my own interpretation -- force-feeding images I found distracting. You won't find many officially-released music videos here. For the most part, I'll feature live performances - still and always the best way to determine if musicians (and their songs) really do have the right stuff.

And a live, Live (huh?) performance is what I chose. An overall pretty darn good one from May, 2000. Lead singer Ed Kowalczyk is in fine voice. A voice, by the way, that hints at both the delicacy and vibrancy of Roy Orbison but delivers occasional gusts up to Freddy Mercury.

Lightning Crashes isn't just one of the best songs of the 90s. It's an all-timer. Turn up those speakers. I hope you enjoy.